Thursday, March 31, 2011

Dressing up the House

Don't let these pictures fool you:

the color of yellow painted on the bedroom walls is joyless.

When we moved in the house we were a little shell-shocked at the sheer amount of uprooting we had experienced since our marriage, and so we've kind of....
existed here without making it our own.

Knowing we'll be here for at least another year means a bit more of an investment in the way rooms feel:

my studio was a fix-up must because I wanted to create in a space that felt good,
that I wanted to walk into every day with gratitude...

so the walls got their gorgeous blue, the workspace doubled and a veritable succulent army has entrenched themselves at the second window- and when I walk in, there is a sigh
my whole body exhales, no matter if it is messy or neat:

it is a haven.

Our bedroom is simply where we sleep, and a few weeks ago I saw a pair of nightstands
on one of my favorite blogs that I knew could be the key to making the bedroom a place I craved when I was away....

On Monday I went up to San Francisco and met the beautiful Petra, who takes vintage furniture and gives them a second life, something I feel passionate about:

I enjoy surrounding myself with older pieces, I like putting old porcelain painted brooches into my own work: I think a life without a modicum of celebrating the dilapidated and the antiquated feels sad, like a strip mall with a Costco and a Jamba Juice but nothing Mom and Pop, nothing

This may be my mother's fault, as she loves antiques, or it may be my Poppy, who is a conservationist.... I feel so lucky to have had those influences!!

My husband, who prefers newer things that don't break as frequently and clean, modern lines suffers me nobly: all decorating choices in the house are mine.

The second nightstand is in my studio, giving me a bit more storage space and a bit more height.

To build a room around a nightstand is a curious thing, but the bedroom walls will be a complementary light grasshopper green, with a slightly darker green above the molding that runs two feet under the ceiling all around the room

And I will find a gorgeous vintage light yellow chenille bedspread as the final accent.

I have a feeling that these shifts are a result of spring, and will
make for a very sunny Sunny!

The work of my cousin's hands arrived last week.
I cannot hang the piece yet because I cannot stop holding it.

Framed in utterly perfect wood whose nuances I could not capture here, Sarah Seip's photography is a revelation.

If you wish to be connected to her, please email me at:

and I would love to pass you on to her!!

One last bit of information, I will be updating the Metal Shop tomorrow afternoon before we leave for the weekend.

I will not be available over the weekend: there will be no checking of convos, nor any emailing or phone calls.

It's our time to be away from it all.

All pieces that find homes will be shipped on Tuesday with love.

I hope you have a fantastic evening!


Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Up From the Ashes

In the redwood groves of northern California there is a magical thing that happens, a result of what we might call a tragedy, a blight:

Fire sweeps through the forest
clearing away all of the underbrush around these magnificent trees
creating a mulch on the woodland floor
and popping the hard seed casings that house the little Redwood blueprints...

the chaos and heat of fire is the only way a new tree can take root.

Well, I say 'hallelujah' to that; it seems to echo our own human spiritual growth patterns, does it not?

We burn in the fires of whatever consumes us:

and from that total consumption, something once hard gets cracked open and we see (if we look, oh please please always look)

a new beginning
a release of old patterns
the fresh experience of life in this new raw skin...

What looks like destruction
to our beauty-loving eyes
is actually
a painful gift.

These pieces are made to look as though they went through fire to get to the beautiful place they're currently in:
heavily oxidized, fiercely brushed...

They show the beauty of transformation,
a representation of renewed spirit in metal...


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

This Woman

has been the soundtrack to so much life....

I just love her voice and her spirit.


A gathering

Some of the wild grass stalks I collected on our way back home still have organic material in them:
when this is the case, they go 'splat!!' in the rolling mill, which makes for some kinda gorgeous patterns, but I'd rather have the whole piece dried.

So I am pressing!

(can you see the wild grass next to the stone, interior to the engraving?
this is an orphan ring - claim away if she is your own!)

And working on a few things I'd like to have in the shop on Friday before Anthony whisks me away to Monterey for some much needed fancy-hotel-snuggling.

We are city people, through and through.

Speaking of city, this mama of a ring features a layer of copper that has birch bark imprinted on it from the 'reading' tree on campus.

Prehnite is the central stone and my oh my, what a luminous piece this is...
part of the holding bowl series

mixed metal and all kinds of lovely,

Right around a size 7.5.

This ring exemplifies the idea of the joyful cup runneth-ing over: the light sweetness of prehnite causing little granules and larger drops to spread out over the whole ring....

I have to say, designs like this are a result of the warmth you show me every time you comment on something here, everytime I get a convo in my box and with every call and letter.

I treasure this place and all who enter and I thank you wholeheartedly for your friendship, advice and wonderful selves!


Sunday, March 27, 2011

Home Again, a Bit Early...

Sometimes even the best laid plans have a way of slipping into a new design without even alerting you to the change...

We are home again, after the most breathtaking drive through the central valley:

Anthony even took me the scenic way so I could take pictures and smile

playing with exposure times and light,

thinking about how good the thought of home felt.

I was due to take a class on Sunday, have a wonderful dinner with friends on Saturday night:
our tax prep went smoothly, every moment with my loved ones was a joy...
my back had other plans.
My neck kinked again: the injuries are settling in more lately, pain is a constant.
Driving five hours is too much:

I hate admitting these things - I so want to be well.
I want to be jet-setting, seat-of-the-pants-flying ME again.

I feel like I dipped my toes in the feeling of rest and patience, when really I am being asked to immerse myself.

And so I rest and recoup at home from this setback.

Los Angeles was charming and stressful - too much city for my taste these days, but my friends were a miracle...



I just feel a bit defeated is all.
And lucky:

It's a complicated cocktail.


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A Moment

It's important to have a Jane in your life.

When memories of sadder things begin to dance in your head like a ghost cotillion,
one needs a little ball of love
who climbs on the needed lap and tucks paws into arms as though to say,
"I'll love you forever"....

I wish everyone could know this kind of sweet.


Monday, March 21, 2011

Link Love

I don't know about you but I am counting the days until I can see

While wearing

And then come home to eat cake off of

And fall asleep next to my husband.

We've been together for five years this April, and I can hardly believe it!


Shop Closure

Good Afternoon!

Just a light reminder that both the



are closing tomorrow afternoon for a week-ish:

tax prep
and Los Angeles ahoy!!!


Sunday, March 20, 2011

It Claimed Me

As soon as I finished the bag I realized there was no way it could leave my hands

Because it claimed me!

This beautiful bird declared that we were meant to walk together through thrift store and garage sales and hardware shops...

into and out of farmer's markets and grocery stores...

Certainly to Tandy Leather to get another high-quality crimson hide
because this kind of beauty deserves to be re-created and shared.

I will put a listing for a second incredible bag in my leather shop today:

the one that follows this piece will be lined in suede, not vintage fabric as I am out of it and this design begs for suede and pinked edges.

The measurements of this generous bag are as follows:

15 inches wide
14 inches tall
12 inches deep (I should amend this part - it's a square foot deep, as all sides are 12 inches, making a square foot of space between them)
30 inches from the top of the strap to the bottom of the bag when hanging
I mean my goodness, you can fit the world in this purse!!

The woman who claims the listing can choose her bird and has a choice between elk leather or the red leather my bag was made from (elk is a mustard color, to live for!)
and the purse will be finished one month from the purchase of the listing.

Keep thine eyes on the Leather Shop, my lovely friends!!


Saturday, March 19, 2011


This evening as a grey rain continued to fall (and will until even after I return from Los Angeles)
a mockingbird sang in our backyard.

When I first moved to Los Angeles 8 years ago
and I was in the doldrums, a strange new voice began in earnest outside of my window;
one bird song, borrowed
then another and another...

I had never heard the mockingbird before, and I was smitten and then some:
besotted might be a better term.

Over the last few weeks I have been stealing snippets of time to create a new bag; it's a huge, deep hobo bag and it takes a million yards of leather and fabric and a thousand hours to make.

Completely worth every second, every inch: it's gorgeous.

Made of all soft leather (and 300 rivets!! whew!) with a few tooled accents, this bag is one fluid motion of slinging, capable of carrying most everything you would need for even the most rigorous and varietal (this adjective is not just for wines anymore, baby!) of days.

On one side, a red heart outer pocket with a mockingbird,
on the other side a turquoise heart pocket, even bigger and deeper, with a bluebird of happiness.

When I heard that mockingbird singing out this evening, I knew he needed to be lauded in leather.

Pictures will come soon, but I just had to share an instance of inspiration because it touched me so completely.

mocking bird sing
In the middle of the night
All of his songs are stolen so he hides
Stole them out from whiporwills
Screaming common lies
He sings them for you special
He knows you're afraid of the dark

- Neko Case


Friday, March 18, 2011

Bluebirds of Happiness Bearing Spring Flowers

Oh, heavens....

5 inches tall
4.5 inches wide
1.5 inches deep

The beauty snaps onto your belt
(I prefer hip-slung belt with gorgeous maxi-skirt and tank top, cowboy boots and a runway walk at the farmer's market)
and holds everything you need for a

summer concert
farmer's market
walk in the woods
jaunt to the best flea market in town...
you name it, this carries the essentials.

G-g-g-gorgeous vintage cotton fabric peeks out from the inside, a gigantic red bloom, edges hand-frayed for softness and the sense of another era...

Raw sides

And a stellar cut of the sweetest blue turquoise in between two dear-as-can-be bluebirds of happiness.

Perhaps when you tuck your keys inside they will be on one of these darling

reddest rose


or sweet meadow daisy?

All of these glorious, hopeful springy pieces will find their way into the


A word about next week: I will be traveling from Wednesday to the following Monday: the shops will close on Tuesday.

I will come home with some new techniques and stories of loved ones in the south!


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Something to hold what Is

This ring is an organically shaped saucer
to catch the drips and splashes when your cup overfloweth.

The pattern is actual birch bark from a venerable, peeling old tree in the heart of SJSU campus;
it looks like a book someone left open was tossed to the wind and landed all over
a living thing, becoming part of it.

A reading tree.

After the sterling received its imprint, the hammering began
and it went on and on and on,
raising the edges of this piece gently...
smooth inclines
to hold what pools,

be it
the love of bacon (it overwhelms me sometimes, honestly)

The ring is just a hair under a size 7

And features a small cut of dendritic agate in what appears to be a feather.... perfect little tiny shoots of wonderment...

I will be listing this piece in the Metal Shop this afternoon

with love


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Work as a Way of Lifting

Over the last days since the earthquake and tsunami in Japan, I have been so heavy.

My heart has ached for that beautiful land and its citizens mightily;

So I work.

In times like this when the spirit is on the wing so much bearing prayers, the studio is mostly silent, save for the sound of hammers, gears and the hiss of the flame...

the shears on leather, 'kal-ka-pong' of the rivets being set...

Breath in and out

tiny posts swimming in liver of sulphur, dried and given a good brushing

Fern Leaves from a dear friend sandwiched between metals and passed through the press...
silence and the ping of metal dropping onto the bench
light crackle of leaf being lifted off, now paper thin and fragile as a cell....

The gentle shhwisk of stones being moved around the 'to make' tray, settling on a natural, unpolished hematite botryoid
looking more like a black pearl than anything commercial, due to its semi-matte sheen...

The snip of cutting shears as the bezel is measured and made...

The click of the camera

The contented sigh to see the fruits of soulful labor.

I hope you've likewise been finding peace in your labors through this sad time in our global history...

Please do give to Doctors Without Borders
if you've the ability...

they're on the ground already doing wonderful healing work.